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Apple apologizes and pushes iOS update that fixes 'Error 53' bricked phones; Touch ID won't work, though

Posted: , by Victor H.

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An official iOS update fixes Error 53 bricked devices, but won't re-enable Touch ID

An official iOS update fixes Error 53 bricked devices, but won't re-enable Touch ID


A few weeks ago, the first report about a fatal 'Error 53' crash that bricked the iPhones of many people surfaced. It did not seem right: iPhones that were serviced at third-party centers got the message after they were updated to a newer version of iOS via iTunes.

The problem stemmed from the fact that repair shops had been replacing a connector between the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the home button itself. This was often carried out as a standard replacement when iPhones with faulty home buttons were brought in.

this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers

Today, Apple has finally addressed the issue with an update to iOS 9.2.1. The new update will fix the problem for users who have updated their iPhone via iTunes, and encountered the dreadful 'Error 53' message (it's worth noting that those who updated their phones over the air should have never seen that error in the first place).

Apple has posted a new support page for the issue and has explained what it has done with the update with a message to the media:

Some customers’ devices are showing ‘Connect to iTunes’ after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. This reports as an Error 53 in iTunes and appears when a device fails a security test. This test was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.

Today, Apple released a software update that allows customers who have encountered this error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC.

We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.

It's important to highlight that this was an error on Apple's part that the company is publicly apologizing for.

The dreadful Error 53 message

The dreadful Error 53 message

You should know that while this update will make your iPhone functional again (it will no longer be bricked), it WON'T re-enable Touch ID.

And that's a reasonable and well thought out move. Allowing a third-party fingerprint sensor that is not checked to be secure would be a big security risk that would allow breaking the privacy of your iPhone.

If you want to get your full Touch ID functionality back, you will need to go to an authorized Apple repair shop to get it replaced.

37 Comments
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posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:16 6

1. Jimrod (Posts: 1179; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


A fair response, Apple will get stick regardless but I don't see many other manufacturers respond to issues as quickly.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:25 17

3. Carbo (Posts: 26; Member since: 07 Aug 2015)


Maybe because other manufacturers don't brick your phone with an update.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:49 5

5. Zylam (Posts: 676; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


Ms updates have bricked dozens of Windows phones.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 06:27 2

8. Sidewinder (Posts: 422; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


Don't think it was done intentionally

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 06:34

9. Piyath_ale (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Nov 2015)


Sorry, that's not the reason. Apple responds quickly because they care about there customers more than any other company in the world and their tech team is way more capable and talented than any one else's

Don't be a joke here.. Please!!!

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 09:09 2

17. sissy246 (Posts: 806; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


They may have got you back in the phone, but the phone is still broken and apple needs to fix that by replacing the touch ID too. I would feel a little different if apple had informed buyers that no one but apple can fix their phone or an apple repair shop , but they didn't.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:30 3

26. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Piyath you are the joke.

Apple care about money and money alone.
If this would not be adressed quickly next iphone to be launched ( 5SE and 7 ) would had ended with lots of sales losts.

So they acted to fix it before its hurt them where its count ( money!!!)

I hate Apple lover because of this they could get a big Apple **** in the *** and say its because Apple love them.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 12:45 1

25. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12503; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Lollipop aka the black sheep of Android upfatesupdates

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:30

27. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


What the point of this comment?

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 15:07 2

32. meanestgenius (Posts: 11003; Member since: 28 May 2014)


To troll. Nothing more.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:54 8

6. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)


First of all disgusting Apple are lying when error pops up !
in their sentence ; ''an unknown error occured''
They LYING that error is unknown !!! They PERFECTLY KNOW what is going on ! Lying disgraceful ppl in there !!!
Only naive ppl believe and trust this company!!

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 08:25 1

15. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1329; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Whaat?

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 11:41

22. mrochester (Posts: 533; Member since: 17 Aug 2014)


If you can't trust Apple, there's no hope for any company in the industry. Apple are the most trustworthy because the customer's relationship with them is very simple; they make a product, and you pay money to buy the product.

It's when you get onto companies like Google that the level of trust starts to go downhill because it's no longer simply a case of paying money and buying a product, it's much more nebulous than that. It's the same for Facebook, and now Microsoft too.

I'd much rather these companies simply make products and then sell them for a price. That way everyone knows where they stand.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 12:35

24. tedkord (Posts: 10915; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Apple are no more or less trustworthy than ANY other large company.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:34 1

28. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


lol i love such comment.

Apple / client relationship is :

They make a product using tech they buyed company to get instead of fully developping it themself.

They give lots of money/goodies to tech website and review website so they only say positive thing about the new device.

They put load of money into marketing for same purpose.

They make a keynote playing around with numbers to look good.

Then a part of the buyer the brainless one line up to get the device.

Next is the broken update thats start and slowly kill your phone so you have to buy a new one.

Still i agree thats google and others are using a less clear way of making money still at least they usually dont pay tech and review website to make them look good.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 08:12 2

14. engineer-1701d (unregistered)


its a fair response since its bull crap it was a way for them to push more iphone sales since they are not selling like they used to. and still i would be pissed if i spent 150 on replacement of id sensor and it no longer worked. i still see a class action suit since apples being hit from every corner with lawsuits and gov crackdown and bad media as being a aiding terrorists, this does not look like a good year for apple but since both samsung and htc wasted this year's phone designs looks like apple will have some android people this year even i might take more pain pills everyday to deal with having a iphone (puke noise)

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:39

29. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Well personally i will never get an iphone.

First reason : over 2000$ of apps i got on android since 6 years.
Second reason : with Apple you are stuck with them if you like me buy lots of stuff on the app store.
Third reason: Android give me much more for my money.
fourth reason : Android phone cost a lots less to repair.

End of the story.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:24 6

2. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 2614; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Awesome! Only took a lawsuit for them to listen...wonder what Mxy...whatever would change his BS security excuses to now.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 10:17

19. Iodine (Posts: 1324; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


They said they would fix it anyway in their official statement.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 19:31 2

33. ibend (Posts: 4248; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


but their unbacked data still gone, forever...
(and they need to throw money to replace those touchID, lol)

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 04:26 6

4. Finalflash (Posts: 2867; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Good thing there was such a huge public backlash otherwise they'd likely never fix this issue. This is what happens when consumers demand better products and services instead of just making excuses for getting shafted.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 05:02

7. davthom123 (Posts: 34; Member since: 02 Mar 2015)


good move by apple especially customers in countries like mine where there are no apple care centres

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 06:44 1

10. Talhamid (Posts: 33; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)


Wow. We are apple. We brick your phone with an update. Then we push out another update that will leave the phone functional but crippled. Another glorious F u to the customers. Yet they still love us.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 06:46 1

11. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


What magic has Apple done that people still love them,?

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 10:17 1

18. Iodine (Posts: 1324; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


The same they done that makes the rest hate: great products.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 19:55

35. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Bs, great products. Half-baked and old tech and limited. Apple is not a technology, but showing off brand. You can't bloody upgrade anything on their laptop, but will need to pay higher price. Wtf Bs.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:40

30. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Manipulation.
Paying money to the right ppl ( review and tech website )
lots of marketing.
bit of lies.

And making a not bad product even if very overpriced.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 10:19 1

20. Iodine (Posts: 1324; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Might be a blow to some but in the end it's the result of uncompromizing security of touch ID, which benefits hunderds of millions of consumers.

And Apple never said their phone is supposed to work with any kind of 3rd-party replacement.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 07:42

12. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4039; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Funny, that's what I was saying they should've done when all of this started.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 07:50

13. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2358; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


To that guys saying apple was doing this on purpose, Ha I was right it was a problem with security.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 09:01

16. Leo_MC (Posts: 1272; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


Too bad...

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 10:35

21. Topcat488 (Posts: 1395; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


Nelson called from Springfield IL, and said "Haw Haw"!

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 12:11

23. PHYCLOPSH (Posts: 219; Member since: 28 Jun 2014)


This is not about security. It's about money and guaranteeing that Apple makes more of it as the sole repair center for this touch ID hardware. Certainly if this was a real security issue TSMC themselves would not be permitted to manufacture the part as Apple would have to do this in-house, which they don't.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 13:41

31. marorun (Posts: 3428; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


and what even more funny is the touch id hardware used by most third party place come exactly from the same place ( TSMC ) as the one inside the original.

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 19:35

34. ibend (Posts: 4248; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


obviously its OEM parts from original manufacturer..
its not like other manufacturer can make that part, and make it work with iPhone..
Apple just being greedy -_-

posted on 19 Feb 2016, 19:57

36. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


A shame that Steve isn't alive to see he's billions, lmfao. Even money couldn't help him to survive. Greedy pos.

posted on 21 Feb 2016, 00:37

37. AlikMalix (Posts: 5442; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Steve never cared about money - he only cared to build something that's different - and he has in my opinion, and many agree.

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